In the 2020 elections, Democrats were able to maintain a slight edge over Republicans, with the balance of power currently being 222 seats held by Democrats against the 213 held by conservatives. While Democrats could take solace in maintaining their majority position, it is important to note that Republicans were able to flip 15 seats.
So how will things shake out in 2022? While no one knows for sure, CNN notes the historical trends do not bode well for the Democratic Party:
“The first midterm election of a newly elected president is almost always bad news for their party in Congress. Republicans lost 40 seats in the House in 2018, while Democrats dropped 62 seats in 2010.
In fact, the president’s party has lost, on average, nearly 28 House seats and more than three Senate seats in the 19 midterm elections between 1946 and 2018.”
But one organization believes Democrats may have hope despite historical trends suggesting otherwise.
According to the organization, The Generic Ballot method is defined as the following:
“The generic ballot — (is) a question in which survey respondents are asked which party they prefer for Congress without providing names of individual candidates…
The generic ballot model uses two predictors — the generic ballot along with the number of seats defended by the president’s party — to generate forecasts of seat swing in midterm elections.”
Four seats are currently vacant in the House, two Democrat and two Republican.
The Center for Politics believes that if each party successfully holds their respective vacancies, the Democratic Party can maintain their advantage. But there is a catch:
…Democrats have a reasonable chance of keeping control of both chambers in the midterm elections if they maintain at least a narrow lead on the generic ballot.
Using this methodology hinges greatly on the Democrat Party maintaining positive public sentiment throughout the next 12 months leading into these landmark elections. After a year of unprecedented crisis after crisis, to assume that they will sail into the 2022 midterms with public support is anything but a given.
Ultimately, the biggest variable for the Democrats may turn out to be the President himself. Despite beginning his presidency with relatively favorable approval numbers, President Joe Biden has recently begun to see his approval ratings tank.
Biden’s job approval dipped below 50% in several polls for the first time last month, and this week brought new lows: Gallup found Biden’s approval rating has fallen to 43%, a 6-percentage point drop since August and the lowest of his presidency. A new Pew Research Center survey released Thursday has Biden’s approval rating at 44%.
Reasons for Biden’s drop in support range from his debacle in Afghanistan, his handling of Covid-19, and an out of control situation on the border with Mexico.
While the Center for Politics’ projections assume generic support for the Democratic Party to continue to be stronger for the Republicans, another year of failed Biden policies and growing public discontent will likely be a burden on Democrats in Congress, potentially sinking their ship altogether in the 2022 Midterm Elections.
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